When you’re thinking seriously about divorce, it’s only natural to experience a lot of conflicting emotions at once. This is true whether you’re the person who is planning on filing or who has already filed, or your partner took the first step. It can be overwhelming at first, so when you’re considering everything you have to do, you can use this checklist to prepare for your upcoming divorce and your new life on your own.
Save as Much as You Can
A divorce impacts your finances, especially since you’re going to lose your ex’s income. If you can, save early. This is particularly important if you’re planning on moving out of your shared home. You’ll want to have as much money as possible for daily living expenses, moving costs, court costs, divorce attorney in Marysville fees and other things you’ll have to spend money on.
Get your Personal Documents Together
It can be tough to gather all the information and paperwork you’ll need once you or your partner begins moving things out of the shared home. You’ll want to have your Social Security card, birth certificate, your marriage certificate, the Social Security numbers of your kids and your spouse, copies of any prenups or post-marital agreements between you and your spouse, insurance policies, and other records you have of personal property.
Collect Financial Data
Financial paperwork is important during the asset and debt division portion of a Washington divorce, so having all financial information together will be a big help to your divorce attorney. Gather tax forms, payroll receipts or paystubs, credit card and bank statements, retirement and investment account information, household bills and expenses, loan documents and other important bills, such as tuition, child care or medical expenses. if you’re not sure whether a financial document is relevant, take it anyway. Your attorney will review all the paperwork for you.
If you can’t get originals or you don’t want your spouse to know you’re considering divorce yet, make your own copies and store them with a trusted relative or family member or in a safety deposit box. You can also rent a post office box to receive mail privately if you’re not ready to talk to your spouse about the divorce yet or have concerns about your safety in doing so. A PO box is also helpful should you decide to move, as you will continue to get your mail uninterrupted even when you’re between places.
Open Your Own Accounts
At this point, all of your bank accounts and credit cards may be shared with your ex, and you may not have any in your name alone. Get your own bank account that is just in your name and at least one credit card in case of emergency. If you can, use a different bank than the one that currently holds your joint account, as it will help ensure your spouse doesn’t gain access to the new account.
Start Thinking About Your Custody Goals
You’ll need a child care plan if you have children. Even in the short term, there are a lot of decisions to make, including who is going to watch the kids during the divorce process, who they are going to live with primarily, and what type of child custody and child support arrangement you want over the long term. Consider your long-term goals now so it’s easier to create the parenting plan with your spouse later. While you will likely have to make some concessions when the parenting plan is being created so you and your spouse can reach an agreement, having some “must-haves” in mind will help your attorney create a starting point.
Find an Experienced Attorney
Even if your divorce is friendly, there are still a lot of details that need to be handled correctly. When you use an experienced divorce attorney from Feldman & Lee, you increase the chances of having a smoother divorce process and your rights will be better protected. Having an attorney take care of paperwork and other necessary things also leaves you with more time to focus on yourself and your family. Be sure to speak with the attorneys you’re considering so you find one who makes you feel comfortable and confident.